On Palatal Expansion in Young Children
I am wondering what the Institute's experience or thoughts are regarding maxillary expansion appliances in young kids. Would you recommend that they be seen by a PT prior to being fit with the appliances to make sure there are no alignment issues that need to be addressed with PRI treatment/exercises? And have you noticed improvement in headaches, neck pain following expansion?
Maxillary (palate) expanders in young kids have been used for years. In fact, this has primarily been a pediatric concept. When you have an interdisciplinary integrated team that can help monitor palatal expansion's (i.e. cranial flexion) influence on the postural system, objective feedback from a PRI therapist can help guide and direct palatal expansion effort and success. If a child (or adult) is unable to achieve cranial flexion with PRI non-manual and manual techniques, and has a high/narrow palate, a palate expander could be helpful. Recently, dentists are using more ALF's as dynamic palatal expanders vs. the "screw-type" palatal expansion orthosis, which is exciting for people like us because the lightwire allows more triplanar cranial movement. Usually, permanent teeth are required to stabilize these types of appliances, so you are probably looking at an age around 8 years old before these would be effective (but that age can vary with each child).